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How to Prepare for Roadside Emergencies

The only certainty about an emergency is that it will happen at some point — especially on the road. A blown-out tire or dead battery can happen at any time. However, these instances don’t have to derail your day.


This is where having a roadside emergency kit can come in handy.


Depending on how many supplies you want in your kit, you may find pricing between $30 and over $300. Nevertheless, one kit may not be enough for your needs, and you may require additional items.

If you want to ensure you’re prepared to handle most roadside emergency instances that come your way, take a look at this guide.

How to Prepare for a Roadside Emergency 

One of the best ways to ensure you’re ready for a potential roadside emergency is to plan for it. You can start by thinking about your surroundings and considering things like:

  • Your car’s condition – Do you have an older car? If so, you may be at risk for wear and tear that can cause your vehicle to stall. So, items like jumper cables or tools to make light repairs may make sense.
  • Weather – What’s the weather like in your area? Do you have to deal with winter weather? If so, items like blankets and shovels might need to be included in your roadside emergency kit.
  • Budget – How much do you want to spend on a roadside emergency kit? The more items you add to your kit, the more it will cost. So, determining your need will allow you to select the suitable emergency kit for your price range. 

What You Should Include in Your Roadside Emergency Kit 

Duralast jump starter being carried to car snow background battery jumpers
Duralst car battery charger

The items you need in your roadside emergency kit will depend significantly on the factors in the previous section. Yet, there are some things every driver may want to consider having in their roadside emergency kit: 

  • Light tools – It’s always a good idea to have a screwdriver, plier set, and an adjustable wrench in your kit. These items can help you make manageable repairs to your car if you need them. 
  • Safety equipment – You’ll likely want to include items like reflective triangles, flares, glow sticks, and flashlights. You want to ensure you’re securing your area if your car has broken down, and triangles and flares allow you to bring attention to your location in case you need help. Additionally, a flashlight is always a must. Anything that helps your visibility is essential to your safety. 
  • Jumper cables – Dead car batteries can happen for a variety of reasons. Very high and low temperatures, forgetting to turn off your car lights, and even faulty battery terminal connections can lead to failing battery performance. Jumper cables can restart your car battery if you fall into any of these situations. 
  • Car battery charger – While jumper cables give your battery an immediate jolt of power, a car battery charger charges your battery over time. While it does take longer, it can come in handy if you’re in an isolated area where you cannot get a jolt from another vehicle. 
  • Tow strap – Whether due to inclement weather or avoiding a tricky road situation, your car can end up off-road. In cases like this, it’s helpful to have a tow strap. You can use these tools to recover your vehicle from ditches or unpaved roads. 
  • First aid kit – These kits can include items like band-aids, tweezers, gauze pads, a tourniquet, gloves, antiseptic solution, and other items to take care of an injury. 
  • Ice scraper – This tool is especially useful if you live in an area that receives a large amount of snow and ice and is a must for a winter weather emergency kit.
  • Tire traction pad – Tire chains are an excellent option for getting out of snowy conditions. However, tire chains may not always be possible to use — whether due to price or road regulations. So, a great alternative is to invest in a tire traction pad. You can use its surface to move your car.

These are just some items you should include in a roadside emergency kit. These kits can come in handy on a variety of occasions. However, there are also non-automotive-related items you should also consider carrying in your car.

Non-Automotive Items to Add to Your Roadside Emergency Kit

In addition to things like screwdrivers, pliers, and jumper cables, here are some other things you should add to your roadside emergency kit:

  • Non-perishable food and bottled water – Be sure to stock up on items like granola bars, nuts, and any food with a far-off expiration date. Also, don’t forget to include bottled water. These items can come in handy if you find yourself stranded in your car for an extended period.
  • Blankets and warm clothing – This is especially essential in colder climate areas.
  • Ice melt – This substance is typically a mixture of sodium or calcium chloride. This solution can stop ice from forming and even break up ice formations. It can also prevent ice from halting your car’s performance.
  • Shovel – You never know when you might have to dig yourself out of snow or mud, so always have this tool on standby.

A comprehensive roadside emergency kit can provide the peace of mind needed to know that you’re prepared for any unexpected road situation that could come your way. Check out AutoZone’s inventory to see other items you could add to your kit.

FAQ/People Also Ask

How do I prepare for an emergency driving


Always be aware of your surroundings and driving conditions. Additionally, inspect your vehicle to locate and fix any problems that could arise.

What are six things you want to carry in your car in case of an emergency situation?


While your roadside emergency kit needs will vary, it helps to have a flashlight, flares or reflective triangles, light tools like screwdrivers and pliers, a tire inflator, jumper cables, and a jack and lug wrench to replace a tire.

How can you stay safe while waiting on the road?


Make sure that your car is visible but away from oncoming traffic. You can also use hazard lights to let others know you may need assistance. Lastly, make sure to call a trusted tow company.

What are possible emergencies on the highway?


A highway emergency can include a blown tire, a failing head or taillight, and a stalled engine. It helps to create a plan for how to tackle each crisis so you can ensure your and any passenger’s safety.

What do you do in an emergency situation on the road?


Try to remain calm, and then when safe to do so, carefully pull over to the shoulder of the road. From there, ensure you and the vehicle are away from oncoming traffic and then carefully assess any damage. Tactics for handling an emergency on the road will vary depending on the issue. 

What is the most common driving emergency?

There are a lot of roadside emergencies that can occur, but flat tires and empty fuel tanks are two of some of the most common to prepare for. 

What are the 4 steps in a pre-start check?

Start by inspecting your vehicle. Then, set your seat and any controls to your comfort. Third, start your car, and lastly, safely move out onto traffic.

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Be sure to consult your owner’s manual, a repair guide, an AutoZoner at a store near you, or a licensed, professional mechanic for vehicle-specific repair information. Refer to the service manual for specific diagnostic, repair and tool information for your particular vehicle. Always chock your wheels prior to lifting a vehicle. Always disconnect the negative battery cable before servicing an electrical application on the vehicle to protect its electrical circuits in the event that a wire is accidentally pierced or grounded. Use caution when working with automotive batteries. Sulfuric acid is caustic and can burn clothing and skin or cause blindness. Always wear gloves and safety glasses and other personal protection equipment, and work in a well-ventilated area. Should electrolyte get on your body or clothing, neutralize it immediately with a solution of baking soda and water. Do not wear ties or loose clothing when working on your vehicle.

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